Review: 2019 has been a busy year for Tronic, and this compilation provides some of the highlights to date. There's DJ Rush & Eric Sneo's rattling percussive "Take Me Back", which draws on gritty ghetto techno for inspiration, while at the other end of the spectrum, the brilliantly named Drunken Kong duo drop a massive, bass-heavy big room workout in the shape of "Two Rivers". Orbit also provides a reminder of the label's heritage, with the shimmering, tranced out "Tesla" by veteran German artist Oliver Lieb, and Christian Smith's long-time friend and musical collaborator Jon Selway delivering an awesomely moody electro reshape of Nematic's "Pecular".
The Mirror Method (Giovanni Carozza remix) - (6:09) 130 BPM
Review: Next up on Tronic is Andre Crom, who is best known for releases on OFF Recordings. Glow captures him in fine clubby form, with a more uptempo release than usual. The title track is a chord-heavy banger that filters in and out of a series of break downs, moving cleverly between levels of intensity. "The Mirror Method" isn't quite as full on, with Crom focusing his efforts on a frazzled, filtered chord sequence and hypnotic, dubbed out beats. Tronic has also included two remixes: first up is Spartaque with a high-paced, metallic take on "Glow", while Giovanni Carozza turns "Mirror Method" into a heavier, clap-led affair. Neither can quite match Crom's original material.
Review: Sender Records are veritable veterans of the house and techno game, having slipped out their first releases way back in 1999. Here, label boss Benno Blome indulges in a bit of nostalgia, picking out some of his label highlights of old. Much of the material comes from the early 2000s, at a time where deep house, techno and minimalism were still a growing force in electronic music. Highlights come thick and fast, from the swinging, tech-tinged groovery of Baby Ford's "Messenger" (as remixed by Matt Star) and the bubbling tech-house oddness of Andre Crom's "Reiner Wahnsinn", to the mutant deep house electrofunk of Frank Martiniq's "Side Blow".
Review: Sometime Leftroom and Expected type Andre Crom returns to Freerange, scene of 2009's "Attica", one of his strongest singles to date. "Tell Me" flips the script slightly, taking his warm and melodic take on deep house into more organic territory. It's a good move. Utilising disco drums, lazy guitars and a delicious vocal from Dennis Deganhardt, it's soulful house for the deep house generation. There's a handy instrumental for those who feel that way inclined, though it's nowhere near as attractive as the vocal version. David August remixes, turning in a gentle, piano-laden cut that sounds like a contemporary take on vintage F Comm stalwart Aqua Bassino. As alternatives go, it's sublime.
Review: You'd expect any collaboration between seasoned studio veterans Andre Crom and Martin Dawson to be suitably solid, and "Need U Back" doesn't disappoint. In fitting with many current deep house records, it looks back for inspiration, infusing its tech-tinged deep house grooves with bumpin' New Jersey bass and hypnotic, bleep-heavy riffs reminiscent of the NYC's finest mid-90s cuts. Homework's laidback remix adds some much-needed shuffle to the previously rigid beats, throwing some spine-tingling breakdowns into a delightfully spacious and heartwarming mix. If anything, it's better than Crom and Dawson's driving original.